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Monday, 21 January 2013

Tussle over Iran central bank governor -

Iran’s currency fell 8 per cent on Monday amid confusion over the fate of Iran’s central bank governor.
Iran’s domestic media reported on Monday that the Supreme Audit Court, which oversees government expenditure, had “dismissed” Mahmoud Bahmani for “illegal withdrawal of people’s deposits overnight” about one year ago, a charge the central bank has denied.
Parliamentarians have criticised the central bank governor for his failure to curb the fluctuations of the rial but the president has until now refused to remove Mr Bahmani from his post. The Supreme Audit Court is affiliated to parliament, which is locked in a power struggle against Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad ahead of presidential elections in June.
Tussle over Iran central bank governor -

Satellite telecoms group ‘turning corner’ -

Rising demand from the region around conflict-torn Syria has buoyed Thuraya, the United Arab Emirates satellite telecommunications business, which says it is “turning the corner” financially after several disappointing years.
While uprisings around the Arab world have boosted Thuraya’s sales, the company’s bigger ambition – in the face of competition from rivals such as Iridium, Inmarsat and Globalstar – is to grow in lucrative Asian markets and expand profitable business lines such as vehicle tracking.
Satellite telecoms group ‘turning corner’ -

U.A.E. Central Bank Plans Mortgage Rules This Year - Bloomberg

The United Arab Emirates plans to issue regulations governing the mortgage market in six to nine months, central bank governor Sultan Bin Nasser Al-Suwaidi said.
Directives sent last month to lenders restricting mortgages are meant to “draw their attention to certain standards that are expected to be adopted under the new system,” he told state-owned newspaper al-Ittihad. “The central bank is usually cautious,” he was cited as saying.
The central bank last month notified the banks of a decision to cap mortgages for foreigners and nationals at 50 percent and 70 percent of the property values respectively. The new rules will be discussed with the banks before they are adopted and should allow a higher lending cap for people who are planning to live in the home they are buying as opposed to those who are investing in real estate, the governor said.
“The new regulation that the central bank is preparing will make more liquidity available for the real estate industry,” he said. “The current system for real estate financing in the country hasn’t been changed.”End

Tadawul All Share TASI Index close January 21, 2012

Snapshot for Tadawul All Share TASI Index (SASEIDX)

Open:7,054.36Day Range:6,952.54 - 7,054.67Year To Date:+2.70%
Previous Close:7,054.3652-Week Range:6,377.99 - 7,944.361-Year:+8.05%
SASEIDX Quote - Tadawul All Share TASI Index - Bloomberg

Egypt Exchange close - January 21, 2012

General Index
Intraday  3 month  
 Daily Statistics
 General Index5640.75
 Change (%)-0.77%
 T. Volume80974520
 T. Companies 444
Egypt Exchange

MENA stock markets close - January 21, 2013

 ExchangeStatus IndexChange  
 TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
 DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
 ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
 KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
 BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
 MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
 QE (Qatar Exchange)
 LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
 EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
 ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
 TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
 CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
 PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
MENA stock markets

Abu Dhabi's property market will struggle in 2013 |

Abu Dhabi's property market "remains 18-24 months behind Dubai and is not expected to to experience an upturn in 2013", according to Jones Lang LaSalle's MENA region CEO Alan Robertson.

According to the firm's latest report on the market, the property sector in Abu Dhabi remains "heavily reliant on the Government investing revenue surpluses" in infrastructure and economic development projects in order to stimulate private sector jobs growth and demand for property.

Abu Dhabi's Executive Council last week announced plans to invest $90bn on capital and infrastructure projects with a view to reducing long-term reliance on oil & gas, with much of the money pledged towards building social infrastructure such as healthcare, education and housing facilities.
Abu Dhabi's property market will struggle in 2013 |

Just Falafel’s taste for fast expansion -

When Just Falafel opened a store in Abu Dhabi in 2007, the fast-food outlet offered three versions of a falafel sandwich: traditional, Greek-style and Indian.
Now the young company offers 10 internationtal versions, including a Japanese take on the ubiquitous stuffed pita-bread pocket.
Just Falafel, which opened its London store in Covent Garden this month, hopes that transforming the humble bean-based snack into a multi-cuisine menu will allow it to challenge the dominance of high-street chains.
Just Falafel’s taste for fast expansion -

DIFC employment back to boom-year levels, up 16% to 14,000 staff as regional financial hub gains traction « ArabianMoney

What a contrast to Bahrain where banks have been quietly shutting up shop and firing staff. In the past year the Dubai International Financial Centre boosted its workforce by 16 per cent to 14,000, back to the level last seen before the global financial crisis struck five years ago.

Dubai ranked as the top financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, and is placed among the top five global players, alongside Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Shanghai, where international firms want to open their offices.
DIFC employment back to boom-year levels, up 16% to 14,000 staff as regional financial hub gains traction « ArabianMoney

Hong Kong sees huge potential for UAE in RMB settlements |

The UAE has huge potential to become a regional hub for the off-shore renminbi (offshore RMB) trade, said a senior official from Hong Kong Monetary Authority who is on a roadshow in Dubai on Monday.
“The UAE is a regional trade hub for the Middle East and North Africa region. The country has the necessary financial infrastructure to link up the entire region’s trade with China to the fast growing off-shore RMB denominated trade and investments, “ said Norman T.L Chan, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority.
China as part of internationalising the RMB (yuan) began trade settlement in RMB in a limited way using Hong Kong as the offshore RMB business centre. Currently more than 30 per cent of Mainland China’s trade is intermediated through Hong Kong. Last year some 60 per cent of China’s foreign direct investments originated from or through Hong Kong and China’s overseas direct investments were made through Hong Kong.
Hong Kong sees huge potential for UAE in RMB settlements |

Kuwait’s NBK Profit Beat Estimates Amid ‘Ongoing Challenges’ - Bloomberg

National Bank of Kuwait SAK, the country’s largest lender, posted 2012 earnings that beat estimates amid what it called a “stagnant” operating environment. The shares fell after it proposed a lower dividend.
Net income rose 0.9 percent to 305.1 million dinars ($1.1 billion), the bank said in an e-mailed statement today. That compares with a mean estimate of 302.6 million dinars from five analysts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“We achieved a solid set of results despite the ongoing challenges,” Group Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Dabdoub said. “The outlook for 2013 has improved as we expect to see more government spending, mainly on mega projects, which in turn generates economic activity and creates opportunities for the private sector.” Last year was “turbulent” for the banking industry “as the operating environment remained stagnant,” Dabdoub said.
Kuwait’s NBK Profit Beat Estimates Amid ‘Ongoing Challenges’ - Bloomberg

Dubai’s Du Reorganizing Operations, Outsourcing Jobs, CEO Says - Bloomberg

Du, the smaller of two phone companies in the United Arab Emirates, is restructuring operations and outsourcing jobs as it seeks to boost earnings, Chief Executive Officer Osman Sultan said.
The company formally known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (DU) started the reorganization program on Jan. 1, Sultan said in a phone interview with Bloomberg News today. Du is outsourcing roles at some call centers in the company’s information technology department, a move that is unrelated to the restructuring of operations, Sultan said. The outsourcing will continue this year and next, he added.
“We’re entering a new phase in the life of this company, and that requires that the company shapes itself,” Sultan said. Du is on track with its growth plans and “for this we have to do certain things like restructuring operations in the most optimal manner,” he said.
Dubai’s Du Reorganizing Operations, Outsourcing Jobs, CEO Says - Bloomberg

Dubai Said to Hire HSBC, StanChart for $1 Billion Islamic Bonds - Bloomberg

Dubai’s government may raise more than $1 billion from a planned sale of Islamic bonds and has mandated five banks including HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) for the offering, according to two people familiar with the deal.
Standard Chartered Plc (STAN), Emirates NBD PJSC (EMIRATES), Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC (DIB) and National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC have also been hired for the sale of sukuk, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. A sale may start as soon as tomorrow, according to one of the bankers. Reuters reported the story earlier today.
The Dubai government’s last bond issuance was in April, when it sold $1.25 billion of sukuk in two tranches, including $600 million of five-year notes at a coupon of 4.9 percent. It also raised $650 million of 10-year bonds at a 6.45 percent coupon. The offering secured $4.5 billion in bids.
Dubai Said to Hire HSBC, StanChart for $1 Billion Islamic Bonds - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi’s Aldar to Buy Sorouh in $1.5 Billion Deal - Bloomberg

Aldar Properties PJSC (ALDAR) agreed to buy Sorouh Real Estate PJSC in a 5.5 billion-dirham ($1.5 billion) deal that would create the Middle East’s third-biggest publicly traded property company by assets.
Aldar will offer 1.288 of its shares for each Sorouh share, the companies said today in a statement. That values Sorouh’s shares at 2.10 dirhams, based on the Jan. 17 closing price. Sorouh Managing Director Abubaker Seddiq Al Khouri will serve as chairman of the combined Aldar Sorouh Properties PJSC.
Abu Dhabi’s Aldar to Buy Sorouh in $1.5 Billion Deal - Bloomberg

Etisalat and Qtel frontunners in Maroc Telecom stake bid - The National

Interest from a number of international players in a lucrative stake in Morocco's largest telecoms operator is likely to ultimately result in a showdown between Etisalat and Qatar Telecom (Qtel), analysts said yesterday.

On Thursday, the UAE operator Etisalat said it was looking into purchasing the French media company Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, worth some US$6 billion (Dh22.03bn).

It follows an announcement from Qtel late last year expressing an interest in bidding for the same stake.
Etisalat and Qtel frontunners in Maroc Telecom stake bid - The National

The Family Office helps make a new investment tradition - The National

When Mohamed Al Omran founded The Family Office almost 10 years ago in Bahrain to service the region's network of home grown conglomerates, the idea of financial advice and succession planning for the ultra-wealthy was fairly new.

Today, The Family Office has almost US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) worth of assets under management and regulated in Bahrain, New York, London and Hong Kong.

"We are still the only one doing this," said Mr Al Omran, the chief executive of the multifamily firm who comes from a prominent merchant family in Saudi Arabia.
The Family Office helps make a new investment tradition - The National

RAKBank establishes Islamic unit - The National

RAKBank has become the latest lender to launch an Islamic banking unit, amid a flood of investment into the Sharia-compliant financial sector.

The Ras Al Khaimah-based lender said in a statement yesterday that it had gained approval from the Central Bank to launch an Islamic offering, through which it will offer customers debit and credit cards with discounts at Sharia-compliant outlets, as well as car loans and takaful policies.

The subsidiary, RAKBank Amal, joins a growing number of lenders seeking to capitalise upon a development drive into Islamic finance.
RAKBank establishes Islamic unit - The National

Inflation threat across Gulf region - The National

Inflationary pressures will intensify across the region this year as factors ranging from housing rent to government stimulus stoke prices.

An IMF report warned that Qatar's construction boom and expanding population would push consumer prices up from 3 per cent this year to 5 per cent in 2016.

But economists say other Arabian Gulf states could also face accelerating price pressures.
Inflation threat across Gulf region - The National

Deposit interest rates in UAE banks continue to drop |

Depositors looking for higher returns on their cash balances this year could be in for a tough time as interest rates have dropped and seem to be heading lower.
According to Preeti Bhambri, managing director and founder of, a personal finance site in the UAE, investment options for savers “are sparingly few”, with rates “decreasing by the month” and likely to fall further.
“Rates have dropped by almost 50 basis points in the last one year,” she told Gulf News.
Deposit interest rates in UAE banks continue to drop |

Dubai market closes near three-year highs |

Dubai’s equities markets yesterday traded near a three-year highs yesterday on signs of continued recovery in the emirate’s real estate sector, which had gone into a prolonged slump following the global financial crisis of 2008.
Real estate major Emaar drove the market’s rally to levels previously seen in April 2010.
The DFM index closed 0.95 per cent higher yesterday at 1,791.73, with the 1,800 level clearly in sight. Market experts expect the current bull run to be sustained by foreign and retail investors who see potential in an oversold market and amid some attractive share valuations.
“The market is anticipating big news on the real estate front as well as from banks, in addition to Amlak’s debt issue which is back on the table to be resolved in 2013, as announced. There is some recovery in the real estate sector in terms of the pricing and Aldar and Sorouh’s merger may happen anytime now, which has reflected positively on the trading volumes,” Musa Haddad, Head of Investment Advisory at National Bank of Abu Dhabi Asset Management told Gulf News by telephone.
Dubai market closes near three-year highs |

Gulf: gauging recovery in the absence of economic data | beyondbrics

Sentiment is everything in the Gulf. Without reliable or regular economic data, it is a struggle to know which direction the wind is blowing.

The underdevelopment and lack of disclosure of public statistics explains in part why so few saw Dubai’s 2009 debt crisis coming. And now, as some Gulf economies appear to be pulling out of the economic crisis, there are still few concrete numbers to prove it. Many are relying on improved sentiment…on anecdotes here and there.

In oil-rich Abu Dhabi, where the economy was sent into a semi-paralysis as the government reviewed its lavish spending plans, the regular tone of moaning by expatriates has eased and the major cutting of expat fat seems to have slowed.
Gulf: gauging recovery in the absence of economic data | beyondbrics

Dubai's dire financial forecasts fail to materialise - Telegraph

Dubai was also helped by the Arab Spring, which sent businessmen scurrying away from other "frontier markets". Photo: Shiva Menon/Solent News & Photo Agency
Friday is all-you-can-eat buffet day in the Gulf, and on the terrace of the creek-side Park Hyatt, overlooking the Yacht Club, the tables are overflowing with red-faced Britons and Australians, quaffing champagne and slurping down oysters.
In the evening, a procession of tipsy girls in high heels totters out of the beach-side Barasti bar at the other end of town, falling into taxis lined up to take them to the next party. Along the coast, containers are piled up the quays of Jebel Ali port, the largest in the Middle East, disgorging the wherewithal to keep the fun going. Figures next week are expected to show the port's through-put beating its own record in 2012, as its success as a regional hub, on top of insatiable demand in the home of conspicuous consumption, proves a winning combination once again.
Dubai's dire financial forecasts fail to materialise - Telegraph

France Telecom buys out Dubai PE in Telkom Kenya - Politics and policy -

France Telecom has bought the 11 per cent stake owned by a Dubai based private equity firm in Telkom Kenya in a deal that has tightened the French multinational’s grip on the local operator.

The Business Daily has learnt that France Telecom bought the stake held by Alcazar Capital and replaced its CEO, Charbel Jaoude, on the Telkom Kenya board. The amount paid to Alcazar was not disclosed.

The deal means that the French firm now fully owns the 60 per cent stake in Telkom Kenya initially held by an entity known as Orange East Africa, a special purpose vehicle created by France Telecom and Alcazar Capital after jointly acquiring a controlling stake in the Kenyan operator in 2007.
France Telecom buys out Dubai PE in Telkom Kenya -

Times of Oman | NBO profit soars 19%

National Bank of Oman said its net profit soared by 19 per cent to OMR40.7 million for 2012, from OMR34.2 million posted for the previous year. The financial results are subject to the approval of board of directors, Central Bank of Oman and the shareholders of the bank.

The bank's net interest income grew by 15 per cent to OMR67.2 million from OMR58.2 million, while operating profit was up 7 per cent at OMR46.7 million from OMR48.8 million.
NBO said its net loans and advances increased by 14 per cent to OMR1,911.6 million in 2012, from OMR1,670.8 million for the previous year.
Times of Oman | NBO profit soars 19% | Broken promises, tough terms lead Qatar to drop Elliniko bid

The letter sent by Qatari Diar to the state privatization fund TAIPED last Tuesday was polite but firm: The subsidiary of state firm Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) would not be continuing with its bid for the development of the old airport at Elliniko, confirming the fund’s greatest fears despite a succession of meetings held in recent weeks in Doha and in Athens with Qatari Diar officials.

But the damage had been done earlier as the main reason why the Qataris abandoned the Elliniko project was that they had been told when they first initiated talks under the George Papandreou government that the deal to develop the plot could be made bilaterally between the two states. “The Arabs,” said an industry insider, “are not familiar with tender procedures. They do not like competition. They prefer contacting political leaders directly – as happened with the PASOK government [at the time] – and seal the deal orally.” | Broken promises, tough terms lead Qatar to drop Elliniko bid